Are You Conflict Avoidant? Conflict avoidance creates conflict. It’s healthy to express thoughts and feelings and ask for what you need and want. When a situation comes up with your partner and you have differences do you keep quiet, placate or give your perspective? Couples who are able to relationally communicate have a deeper level of intimacy than those who do not. As a Marriage Counselor, I work with couples who say they never fight. These same couples say they don’t feel an emotional connectedness with one another and tend to feel like “roommates.” When you suppress your emotions rather than share them you lose the opportunity for emotional growth. Without vulnerability
Reasons for being conflict avoidant:
- Fear of disappointing
- Fear of an argument
- Experienced bad conflicts during childhood
- Fear of negative reinforcement or repercussions when asserting self
- Fear of expressing self
- Feel their input isn’t valued
Tips to Overcome Your Conflict Avoidance Issue
- Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen if you confront your partner
- Start with a minor conflictual situation and build up to a larger one
- Identify your feelings
- Use “I” language which asserts your thoughts and feelings
- Be clear on what you want
- Remember that your partner’s feelings are their own.
Overcoming the discomfort of being conflict avoidant is important because conflict avoidance creates more conflict between you and your partner. By avoiding conflict you miss out on opportunities for growth. Growth always involves change, and even positive changes often involve some level of tension and discomfort. To choose to avoid conflict is to choose personal stagnation – the opposite of growth. Take pride in successfully confronting a conflict situation.
For more information about becoming less conflict avoidant please contact me at (858) 735-1139.